Image by Bjoertvedt, from Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 13.07.2018

 

Geography combined with an abundance of diverse agricultural products, could have made Serbia the breadbasket of Europe. Unfortunately, the agricultural sector has become a victim of weak political stability and inefficient public services; and, now, the it is being further challenged by severe weather conditions. For the sector to grow, substantial investment is required in infrastructure, technology and public services.

The big challenge, however, is that of political interference. In the context of Serbia, this is translated into the political manipulation of institutions governing the enforcement of different regulations, including food safety inspections; rights related to land ownership and leasing; public procurement processes; and, market disturbances shaped from within the inner circle of power.

Impact

  • Serbia’s agricultural sector accounts for little more than 6% of the country’s GDP, 23% of exports and more than 20% of total employment. The country exports fresh and processed food to the EU, CEFTA, Turkey, Russia and Belarus, and enjoys a healthy - although decreasing - trade surplus, which in 2017 was approximately €1 billion.
  • Agriculture in Serbia benefits from favourable natural conditions, including the general climate, fertile soil, and biodiversity. However, stronger development initiatives, and the inclusion of technologically advanced farming solutions, is constrained by deep regional disparities, the dominance of small farms, and a complex maze of political undercurrents that shape national and regional farming policies. These factors already have an impact on economic capacity.